Reform NY synagogue, Southern Poverty Law Center leave U.S. Women's March

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch announced Friday that his New York-based congregation will disassociate from Women’s March Inc.

By MARCY OSTER/JTA
January 15, 2019 01:45
1 minute read.
People take part in the Women's March in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., 2018

People take part in the Women's March in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 20, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)

 
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The Southern Poverty Law Center and a major Reform synagogue in New York have disassociated themselves from this year’s Women’s March.

Top leaders of the main organization have been accused of engaging in or condoning antisemitism, of not cutting ties with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and of failing to heed the concerns of its thousands of Jewish backers.

Jen Fuson, a spokeswoman for the Alabama-based SPLC, told the Daily Beast that “other projects were a priority.” She said the organization would be involved in local marches where they have offices, however.

SPLC has designated the Nation of Islam as a hate group, but did not specifically cite this as a reason for leaving the national march.


The Daily Beast also noted that EMILY’s List does not appear on the list of Women’s March 2019 partners and that the National Council of Jewish Women told The New York Jewish Week last week that it would not be a partner in this year’s march.

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch announced Friday that his New York-based congregation will disassociate from Women’s March Inc., and that it will join the 2019 Women’s March On NYC under the auspices of the Women’s March Alliance.

“As early as 2017 we heard rumblings of troubling accusations of antisemitism and anti-Zionism within and amongst the leadership of the Washington march,” Hirsch said in a statement. “At the time we pushed our discomfort aside in deference to what we considered the bigger issues threatening our country. But now, in the aftermath of Pittsburgh and mindful of the surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the past two years, anti-Semitism can no longer be a narrow concern. If you tolerate or are sympathetic to those who are prejudiced against Jews, we cannot stand with you. If you deny Israel’s right to exist, we cannot stand with you.”

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